Monday, September 25, 2017

Oregon Outback - Day Six

For our sixth and final day we stopped by the general store to buy breakfast and snacks and hit the road. Instead of the 90+ degree weather we had been broiling ourselves it was going to be 80 degrees. Most of the ride was going to be down hill so the last 60 miles was going to be easier that the rest of our trip. But it was also very windy so it wasn’t as easy as we were expecting.

We headed out on Highway 97. We flew when the wind was behind us, but most of the time we leaned into a side wind. Passing trucks added some sketchiness with the swirling air currents in their wake pushing us in unexpected directions. Fourteen miles later we left the highway and hit the gravel.

But now we were alternating between a head wind and a slightly back-to-your-left-tail-but-also-side wind. At least we didn’t have any traffic. We diverted from the established route to stop in Grass Valley to grab a bite. Unfortunately, it was Monday and everything was closed. So we had to follow Hwy 97 another 10 miles to Moro where we found a grocery store that had a small deli inside. We lingered because it was our last stop of the day before finishing.

Leaving Moro we had to climb. Into a head wind. Like a 20 mph head wind with 30 mph gusts head wind. The ascent wasn’t that steep, except for a couple of 6-9% spots, but that wind would almost stop you in your tracks.

John remarked that he would probably be faster if he walked his bike. Once we crested we had an easier time going against the wind on the long descent to the Deschutes River. We finished at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area and called Susan, John’s wife, to let her know we had arrived safely. She was about an hour out, which gave us plenty of time to shower and change into clean clothes.

The most enjoyable part of riding the Oregon Outback was riding it with John and Geoff. They are both great guys. We watch out for each other and we are good humored together. Next was the experience of passing through a countryside with a great combination of variety and solitude.

And then there were signs of the past. Worn and rusted machines setting out as if to display a greatness that once was. Buildings with weather-beaten boards held in place by nails hammered decades ago by the hands of men who had dreams. Untold and unknown stories swirl in the wind leaving you to conjecture about the physical objects before you. We pass by on our simple machines and find our own stories. Stories that may one day blow in the wind through forests, along rivers, across high deserts, and leave others to wonder about what they see.

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